Chek has written to the new secretary of state for Health Matt Hancock to ask for an appointment to see him.


Following on from our visit to see his predecessor in November CHEK wants to keep the pressure up. We have also invited him down to see for himself what the problems are in east Kent.

The acute services were removed from the K&C last June and we are campaigning to bring them back. Some of those services are being consulted on now, but we need a consultation on all of the acute services, and where they should be in east Kent. The full consultation that is planned but delayed should be focused on the best place geographically for these services, and CHEK is adamant that has not changed in the last 20 years, and should be in the centre of east Kent at the K&C. 

There is no doubt that our premises for acute care are requiring major works to bring them into modern sustainable estate, suitable for health care for the foreseeable future.

CHEK had a big campaign last year for a new hospital, and there is now an option on the table to accept the offer of a shell of a new hospital built on land adjacent to the present K&C. This would be at no cost to the NHS as it has been offered free by a developer. Why this has not been accepted since it was offered over 12 months ago is unacceptable. We are now told that a full consultation on acute hospital services will not take place until early 2019 which makes a decision not likely until the end of the year.

In the meantime the NHS are in danger are investing money in propping up services instead of looking at the big picture and taking the decisions now, which will benefit patients now. One of those services is the new stroke service and its one referred as consulting now. That consultation has ended and has been studied. The stroke unit for east Kent is seen as the William Harvey Hospital, and not the K&C or indeed the QEQM, that's because they were not included in the consultation, and in the case of the K&C illegality we believe.

Should the acute services be located at the K&C then we are told that a new consultation would be carried out to move the stroke services from the WHH to the K&C. This is a ridiculous waste of money the new HASU stroke services should be at the K&C whatever happens, and plans should be made to put it there now, then the patients of east Kent could look forward to a centrally located service that surely must be a benefit to patient outcomes.  

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A new hospital in the centre of East KENT is what CHEK is campaigning for, a hospital with all specialities under one roof including Trauma and Acute Mental Health beds. We still need hospitals at each end of East Kent though to continue offering services nearer to patients' homes once those who have needed the more specialist treatment can be sent to them if they are not fit enough to be sent home, along with those not requiring the more specialist care.  A state of the art hospital would certainly attract new, well qualified staff to East Kent as did the establishment of the Post Graduate Centre at the Kent and Canterbury hospital way back 50+ years ago.

Unless and until such a new hospital is built along with more services provided in the community, the situation here in East Kent will only get worse with a growing population and more of us living longer with the increasing demands on the NHS this brings.

Very interesting meeting held last evening at the University of Kent to celebrate the 70th birthday of the NHS. This was addressed by an academic involved in research, the
Head of HealthWatch and the Chair of the local Hospital Trust. The theme was the NHS, past, present and future.  We were told the first person to live to 200 has already been born! Just imagine what the future needs of health and social care will be with extended life expectancy. We are not adequately coping now with those living to 100. I personally know a family cracking under the strain of doing that for a family member right now.

The NHS needs to be taken out of the political area. It should not be a battleground for in fighting between opposing political parties that has and continues to happen right now. Successive governments of different political colours have failed East Kent over the years. We have politicians here right now failing to look at the wider picture while the public who have elected them are having to bear the brunt of past failings to address the needs of health and social care.

A new state of the art hospital in the centre of East Kent is certainly one solution and we must continue our campaigning to achieve this however we need to have services removed 'temporally' from the K&C returned there immediately to ease some of the pressure this action has put on the hospitals in Thanet and Ashford. Along with this we need a massive overhaul with appropriate financial provision to provide more services in the community.

It was such a pity that Canterbury and Whitstable's MP got caught up in another almost daily occurrence of a major hold up on the M2/A2, that she did not get to the meeting to hear from the panel the present and future health and social care needs for her constituents and those of all the other local MPs.


Peggy Pryer   13 July 2018


From HSJ Mag



Ambulance trusts will receive £36.3m of capital funding for new vehicles and infrastructure following a major capacity shortage last winter, the Department of Health and Social Care announced.

Health minister Stephen Barclay said the investment would help procure “256 new state of the art vehicles, more than half of which will be on the road for this winter”.

HSJ understands the funding comes amid concerns about ambulance capacity ahead of what is set to be another chastising winter for ambulance providers.

Ambulance chiefs were also privately concerned by the lack of funding they were allocated from the £335m of winter pressures funding, which was largely used to plug acute trust deficits, senior sources familiar with the issue told HSJ.

A DHSC statement said London Ambulance Service was using its £3.85m share to purchase 25 double crewed ambulances. Yorkshire Ambulance Service Trust plans to spend its £7.5m share on 62 double crewed ambulances.

Investment will also be used to support infrastructure at ambulance trust headquarters to allow better restocking and maintenance of vehicles, the DHSC said.

NHS England medical director for acute care Keith Willett said: “This additional investment will help ambulance trusts to deliver the quality of service and excellent patient outcomes that are at the heart of the ambulance response programme.”

Mr Barclay said: “In some of the most worrying and vulnerable moments in our lives, dedicated ambulance staff are there, providing expert, calm and reassuring care to patients in often highly pressurised and sometimes dangerous situations.”

Other schemes to get funding included:

  • East of England Ambulance Services Trust: £6.5m for modification of ten of the eighteen key sites to support services for winter 2018-2019.
  • East Midlands Ambulance Service Trust: £5m for funding 37 ambulance vehicles and enhanced paramedic education
  • North West Ambulance Services Trust: £6.6m for an extra 69 paramedic emergency service vehicles.
  • South Western Ambulance Service FT: £6.7m for 63 additional ambulance vehicles

Mental Health

Only one mental health crisis team in the country is meeting all the national staffing and access standards, according to a new study.

The national crisis resolution team survey found that only one of more than 180 adult crisis resolution teams were meeting the Department of Health and Social Care’s mental health policy implementation guide for community mental health teams on staffing and access.

It also found:

  • Fewer than half the CRTs would accept referrals directly from patients or their families without them having been referred from a GP or already known to services;
  • 45 per cent of adult teams and 64 per cent of children and young people teams set a four hour target to commence an assessment; and
  • Only 17 out of 180 met all the staffing requirements and only one-in-six met all the access standards.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists’ general adult faculty chairman Lenny Cornwall said NHS England must invest in community mental health teams and make it a national priority.

He called for NHS England to introduce the four hour admission and home treatment target set out by Lord Crisp in his 2016 report.

Dr Cornwall added: “As a first step, we need NHS England to introduce that target and measure and report on how well services meet it.

“Crisis teams are under pressure because resources have been diverted from core community mental health teams – the teams which prevent people getting into crisis.”

NHS England has set up a national team focusing on community mental health pathway. HSJ understands the national commissioning body is also looking at caseload sizes and response times for CRTs.

The survey was published in May and carried out by a team led by Brynmor Lloyd-Evans, senior lecturer in mental health and social care at University College London.

Dr Lloyd-Evans told HSJ a new four hour target was needed, and added: “The problems have always been there. The story is they have never quite been fully set up and implemented as planned.

“I think that guidance has really stood the test of time, it was based on really good models of care.

“What people want a good crisis team to look like is still what that model spells out.”

An NHS England spokesman said that since the survey was carried out in 2016 there had been £400m invested in improving services.

He added: “NHS England is rebuilding mental health crisis teams after years of underinvestment. Since 2016 when this survey was carried out, services have been improving as part of a £400m investment programme which will give people in every part of the country access to these crucial services.”


Health Network members’


Today we have published two reports about the recent public consultation on urgent stroke services in Kent and Medway:


Consultation response report: This report has been written by DJS Research, an independent research consultancy, who analysed all the consultation responses. It provides a detailed report on the themes emerging from the public consultation.

Consultation activity report: This report, written by the consultation team, sets out how we delivered the formal consultation; describing the range of activity we undertook across Kent and Medway and neighbouring areas.

Both reports are available at www.kentandmedway.nhs.uk/stroke/reports/


We should stress that no decisions have been taken at this point. The Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups reviewed the reports at a meeting yesterday (28 June 2018); and will be looking at the responses in more detail in the coming months as part of developing a preferred option.


We would like to thank the thousands of people who took the time to contribute to the consultation. And to thank you for your support in promoting the consultation. We would encourage you to look at the response report which we feel gives an accurate reflection of both the support and concerns raised during the consultation.


It was good to receive such a wide range of comments from across Kent, Medway, south east London and East Sussex; and to see how important getting our stroke services right is to people. The views we have gathered will play an important part of the next stage of decision making.


The process and timetable for reaching a preferred option is:


Summer to early autumn: consideration of the consultation responses and establishing whether any viable additional options have been put forward to evaluate in detail, agreeing the approach to the evaluation of the shortlisted options, meeting with the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, evaluation workshops.

Autumn: identifying a preferred option, development of the ‘decision making business case’, including discussion with the South East Clinical Senate, NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Winter: final assurance process with NHS England and NHS Improvement, and the Joint Committee of CCGs meeting to agree the preferred option for implementation.

To keep up to date on the progress of the stroke review please subscribe to the Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership’s regular bulletin at www.kentandmedway.nhs.uk/subscribe

We would be grateful if you could circulate this update within your networks.


Yours faithfully


Patricia Davies

Director of Acute Care for Kent and Medway and Senior Responsible for the Kent and Medway Stroke Review

On behalf of the Stroke Review Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups


Kent and Medway Sustainability & Transformation Partnership

Magnitude House, New Hythe Lane, Aylesford, Kent ME20 6WT


Email: [email protected]

Freephone: 0300 7906796


A spoonful of sugar

Action by NHS England has slashed the sale of sugary drinks in hospitals, new data has revealed.

Last year chief executive Simon Stevens challenged trusts to reduce the sale of sugar-filled drinks to 10 per cent or less of those bought on the premises.

Nine out of ten trusts have now acted, and the proportion of drinks sold on NHS premises that contain added sugar has been dramatically cut from 15.6 per cent to 8.7 per cent, successfully meeting the challenge.

Ten million teaspoons of sugar have been removed from NHS canteens, shops and vending machines as a result – the equivalent of 1.1 million cans of fizzy drink, roughly 39,000 kilos of sugar and over 160,000,000 fewer calories, official analysis of the new figures show.

Simon Stevens, chief executive at NHS England said: “The NHS is now putting its own house in order in the fight against flab – with the vast majority of hospitals answering the call to action. Obesity is one of the biggest long term challenges facing us as the NHS enters its eighth decade, so action now will avoid storing up a long list of preventable and expensive health problems for the years ahead.”

In total, 14 leading national retailers have signed up to the NHS health drive to tackle the impact of the country’s sweet tooth, with Boots also announced as the latest to comply today.

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS England’s national clinical director for diabetes and obesity said: “The obesity epidemic sweeping the country is a public health crisis. It is associated with heart attacks, cancer, Type 2 diabetes and a number of other illnesses – causing personal suffering and costing the health service and in turn the taxpayer, billions every year. And for all of those conditions, wherever possible, prevention is preferable to cure and that’s why it’s important the NHS sends out the right message by cutting sales of sugary drinks and offering healthier food and drinks to patients, relatives and our 1.3 million staff.”

The current sugar reduction scheme will remain in place for the rest of the year as part of the 2018/19 NHS healthy food and drink incentive programme, with all trusts expected to sign up this autumn. Those trusts not signed up will not be able to get a slice of this year’s national incentive scheme. NHS England is proposing to make it mandatory as part of the standard contract from 1 April 2019, subject to consultation.

This will ensure that the target is met in all retailers, on each NHS site, with options to go further on food and drink standards also under consideration.

The figures also show the beneficial impact that the government’s Soft Drinks Industry Levy is having, with many drinks being reformulated or removed to escape the additional charge on sugar in place since April 2018, although the NHS has gone further than the drinks levy, with milk-based drinks already included in the sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) programme.

Stroke services

The details of the stroke consultation has now been published, and it is without doubt a very thorough, full and intensive document. I think it is realised that the response was varied without any real clear indication or overhaul agreement of what and where is best for the stroke units. Indeed I am surprised that the option of Darenth Valley, and Maidstone along with the WHH may show as the slight favourite, given the amount of stroke patients see by Medway Maritime Hospital.
The biggest concerns on travel times are those from the residents of Thanet and quite rightly so. CHEK is still adamant that the stroke unit should be at the K&C in a new acute hospital, and not built at the WHH until the acute consultation has been completed, which we believe will conclude that acute services should be located at the K&C. 
However as we have said before we need the acute consultation to begin urgently and remove the uncertainty we have had for the last sixteen years.


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